Plan your trip
Take the train from London Paddington to Swindon. Trains are frequent and take approximately 1 hour. Look up times.
Accommodation and What’s On information can be found at VisitWiltshire.
Brunel Trail and classic English Villages
From London Paddington take the train to Swindon. The journey takes approximately an hour with lots of train choices towards Bristol or South Wales. Swindon was an Anglo Saxon settlement - “Swinedun” a medieval hunting ground for wild boar - but Brunel gave it fame and population growth. At Swindon you can visit the STEAM Museum housed in the former Brunel GWR works. For retail therapy the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet is also close to the station in another part of the old GWR works.
Take the 15/20 minute train ride from Swindon to Chippenham either by TransWilts from platform 2 or a high speed train from platform 4 - a frequent service with half hourly services.
At Chippenham you can see the now unused original platform. Outside the station is the Brunel’s drawing office building and spanning the high street Brunel’s viaduct, which carries the line towards Bristol. Chippenham makes a good base to visit Castle Combe, the classic English Cotswold village often used as a film set. Take a taxi as buses are infrequent. A day spent here gives a chance for pretty walks (spot the trout in the stream by the road) and take a cream tea in a pub or the Manor House.
From Chippenham take the TransWilts service south on the line to Melksham, less than 10 minutes away.
From Melksham it is a short bus or taxi ride to Lacock National Trust village, which features in many period films. Allow at least a half day to wander in the village and enjoy the atmosphere. Visit the Abbey where William Henry Fox Talbot, the Victorian pioneer of photography, took the first negative photograph through the Abbey window and the cloisters where Harry Potter was filmed. Take a pub lunch and maybe spot the 18th century dog wheel that was used to power the roasting spit.
Continue on the train - 10 minutes to Trowbridge from Melksham.
Option 1 Kennet & Avon Canal and Bath
Change at Trowbridge. Cross the line to take a train towards Bath - a 20 minute journey. This is by far the prettiest route to Bath via Bradford on Avon and Avoncliff. Get off at Bradford on Avon to see a wool town on the river Avon and access the Kennet & Avon Canal and maybe hire a boat? Alight at Avoncliff to walk alongside the canal as it crosses the valley by aqueduct and enjoy a lunch at the 16th century pub.
Take the train onwards to Georgian Bath, where having enjoyed its many and varied sights you can return to London on the frequent high speed service to Paddington in one and a half hours.
Option 2a Stonehenge and Salisbury
Change at Trowbridge to take a connecting train from the same platform to Salisbury, or stay on the TransWilts and change at Westbury for Salisbury. Allow an hour with connections. At Westbury look left to see the famous white horse. At Salisbury take the Stonehenge Tour bus to Stonehenge, which leaves from outside the station. Entry to Stonehenge is by timed ticket, which can be booked in advance.
Stay in Salisbury to allow time to explore and visit the Cathedral and view the Magna Carta.
Return trains to London Waterloo from Salisbury operate half hourly and take one and a half hours.
Option 2b Combined Salisbury and Bath
Return from Salisbury towards Bath in just under an hour, include Option 1 visits and return via London Paddington.